Carnegie Mellon University

Katelyn Breivik

Assistant Professor

Wean Hall 

Astrophysics and Cosmology


Katelyn Breivik

Education & Professional Experience

Ph.D.: Northwestern University (2018)
M.S.: Northwestern University (2014)                                                                                       
B.S.: Utah State University (2012)

Curriculum Vitae

Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon, 2023-
Flatiron Research Fellow at the Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Astrophysics, 2020-2023
CITA Fellow at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, 2018-2020

Research Interests

Binary stars are a crucial component or limiting factor in nearly every field of astrophysics from compact object formation, to exoplanet characterization, to galaxy formation, and cosmology. I work at the interface of theory, simulations, and data to understand how binary-star interactions shape stellar populations as they evolve from birth to death. I spend a lot of time thinking about the best ways to combine simulations of binary populations and data from electromagnetic surveys like Gaia and SDSS-V with gravitational wave observatories like LIGO and LISA to study binary star populations at different snapshots in their evolution and ultimately constrain the outcomes of binary star interactions. 

I also spend a lot of time developing software tools which simulate binary star populations and their observable properties in electromagnetic and gravitational-wave surveys. All of the code I write and use is publicly developed and available for use on GitHub including COSMIC, a binary population synthesis suite, and LEGWORK , a signal to noise calculation tool for LISA. I am also a strong proponent of reproducibility in science and use showyourwork in my research workflow to ensure that my results are reproducible and accessible to the scientific community. 

Selected Publications

Wong, Kaze W. K., Breivik, Katelyn, Farr, Will M., Luger, Rodrigo, Backward Population Synthesis: Mapping the Evolutionary History of Gravitational-Wave Progenitors, eprint arXiv:2206.04062 (2022)

Chawla, Chirag, Chatterjee, Sourav, Breivik, Katelyn, Moorthy, Chaithanya Krishna, Andrews, Jeff J., Sanderson, Robyn E., Gaia May Detect Hundreds of Well-characterized Stellar Black HolesThe Astrophysical Journal, 931 2 107 (2022) 

Wagg, Tom, Breivik, Katelyn, de Mink, Selma, LEGWORK: A python package for computing the evolution and detectability of stellar-origin gravitational-wave sources with space-based detectorsJournal of Open Source Software, 7 70 3998 (2022)

Thiele, Sarah, Breivik, Katelyn, Sanderson, Robyn E., Applying the metallicity-dependent binary fraction to double white dwarf formation: Implications for LISAeprint arXiv:2111.13700 (2021)

Wong, Kaze W. K., Breivik, Katelyn, Kremer, Kyle, Callister, Thomas, Joint constraints on the field-cluster mixing fraction, common envelope efficiency, and globular cluster radii from a population of binary hole mergers via deep learningPhysical Review D, 103 8 083021 (2021)

Breivik, Katelyn, Mingarelli, Chiara M. F., Larson, Shane L., Constraining Galactic Structure with the LISA White Dwarf Foreground, The Astrophysical Journal, 901 1 4 (2020)


Breivik, Katelyn, Coughlin, Scott, Zevin, Michael, Rodriguez, Carl L., Kremer, Kyle, Ye, Claire S., Andrews, Jeff J., Kurkowski, Michael, Digman, Matthew C., Larson, Shane L., Rasio, Frederic A., COSMIC Variance in Binary Population SynthesisThe Astrophysical Journal 898 1 71 (2020)

Andrews, Jeff J., Breivik, Katelyn, Pankow, Chris, D'Orazio, Daniel J., Safarzadeh, Mohammadtaher, LISA and the Existence of a Fast-merging Double Neutron Star Formation ChannelThe Astrophysical Journal Letters 892 1 L9 (2020)

Breivik, Katelyn, Chatterjee, Sourav, Andrews, Jeff J., Constraining Compact Object Formation with 2M0521, The Astrophysical Journal Letters 878 1 L4 (2019)

Breivik, Katelyn, Kremer, Kyle, Bueno, Michael, Larson, Shane L., Coughlin, Scott, Kalogera, Vassiliki, Characterizing Accreting Double White Dwarf Binaries with the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna and GaiaThe Astrophysical Journal Letters 854 1 L1 (2018)

Breivik, Katelyn, Chatterjee, Sourav, Larson, Shane L., Revealing Black Holes with GaiaThe Astrophysical Journal Letters, 850 1 L13 (2017)

Breivik, Katelyn, Rodriguez, Carl L., Larson, Shane L., Kalogera, Vassiliki, Rasio, Frederic A., Distinguishing between Formation Channels for Binary Black Holes with LISAThe Astrophysical Journal Letters, 830 L18 (2016)

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